Editor’s Note: We’re very lucky here at BLD to be part of Fansided, a wide-reaching network with blogs for every NFL team (as well as a huge selection of NBA, NHL, MLB, and other blogs as well). We’d be dumb not to take advantage of these resources, so welcome to our new feature: Behind Enemy Lines. Each week, we’ll be checking in with the staff from the Fansided blog representing the Bills’ opponent for that the week.
This week, we’re checking in with Jamie Pacheco, the lead editor of Musket Fire, Fansided’s excellent Patriots blog. A big thank you to Jamie for taking the time to answer some Patriots questions for us as we get ready for the Bills’ showdown with undefeated New England Sunday.
Q: The Patriot offense has looked incredible so far. Is this the best the New England offense has ever been?
I don’t think I can call it the best yet because the 2007 offense was something special. I also have concerns with this offense. If Tom Brady isn’t completely on like he has been, can the running game help take pressure off Brady? It hasn’t shown that it can just yet. The Pats are asking an awful lot of Brady to carry the team week in and week out. It has to give at some point, right?
Q: Of the Patriots’ two big offseason acquisitions, Chad Ochocinco has certainly in the headlines the most. But how has Albert Haynesworth looked so far?
Statistically he’s been quiet, and he isn’t in on a majority of the defensive plays, but he has been disruptive. He can still collapse a pocket like few can in the NFL, but that doesn’t show up on a stats sheet. He’s listed as “questionable” this week due to a back injury, so if he doesn’t play, that will be a blow to the Patriots’ ability to contain Fred Jackson.
Q: For as good as the Pats’ offense has been, we’re hearing the same old concerns about the defense – namely that it’s not any good. Are worries about the New England defense overblown or is there real reason to worry for Pats fans?
Opinion varies, but count me in the camp that’s worried. It’s no coincidence that despite all of the offense we’ve witnessed over the past few seasons, the best defenses usually end up in the Super Bowl. As I mentioned above, if Brady falters, can this defense keep the team in the game? I don’t think so. They’ve been lucky with turnovers up to this point, but you can’t count on that. It looks like it’s more than a transition from the 3-4 to the 4-3. The players just don’t seem to be making plays, even if they’re in position to do so. If this doesn’t get fixed soon, the Pats will be one-and-done in the playoffs yet again, if they even make it that far.
Q: This is a tough question for a team with the national profile of the Patriots, but are there some players on the team that aren’t yet household names that we should keep an eye on Sunday?
DT Kyle Love has been quietly holding his own next to Vince Wilfork on the defensive line. When Haynesworth’s out, Love is usually in. Nate Solder, the team’s first round pick, did an excellent job filling in for RT Sebastian Vollmer against Miami Week 1 and he’ll be called upon to play for Vollmer once again this week.
Q: How about a prediction for Sunday’s game?
I can honestly say that I’m conflicted with this game. The Bills have almost always played the Pats tough, and they look better this year than they have in years past. Still, at this point, I’m going to have to stick with my Patriots in a high-scoring game, though I wouldn’t be shocked if the Bills pulled this one out.